It’s not uncommon to see popular children’s characters being used to teach kids lessons that are valuable for everyday life, but did you know Mario was once featured in an anime about road safety? Very few people did, but a few short clips of it have now appeared online following its showing at a rare anime screening.
Film and TV adaptations of Mario and his occasionally appearing brother, have rarely been well remembered. The Super Mario Super Show hasn’t aged well and the less said about the live-action Bob Hoskins’ vehicle, the better. While public safety videos using Mario as a spokesperson are unlikely to break the mold there, there is some charm in knowing Mario was looking out for children trying to cross the streets safely.
Originally released in Japan in 1989, Super Mario Traffic Safety debuted alongside Super Mario Fire Brigade. As YouTuber GTV explains, the shorts were shown to Japanese schoolchildren to teach them about basic safety precautions (thanks Kotaku).
The plot of the traffic safety film follows a young boy and his sister who begin by playing Super Mario 3. When his sister runs off, the boy follows her and is nearly run down by Mario, who proceeds to get out of his car and instruct the lad about proper road safety. Bowser is eventually involved and some tips about not talking to strangers are also dished out.
The film was shown in rough form at a specialized anime screening of older, children-focused short films. As the above video points out, these films were only ever sold to schools, so it’s possible that the hosts of the screening have the only copy left in existence. However, the call has now gone out for anyone who may have access to a copy to come forward and preserve it online for posterity.
Fortunately, its companion film based on fire safety has already been preserved and you can watch it in its entirety.